Nikon d40 or Canon g9--does D40 in auto modes take great pix? I had the original Canon Rebel, which took very mediocre pictures in its auto modes, but really great pix on the manual modes--however, I really hate white balancing, etc. I kept forgetting all the parameters for different conditions, and had to carry a notecard listing the different settings --which is to say, I don't seem to have an intrinsic interest in all the manual manipulations. I now have a mid-range P&S (an elph) but miss having the better quality pictures. Am trying to decide between the D40 with 55-200 lens or the new Canon G9--which seems to be about as good as P&S gets. Any opinions are welcome. Thank you.
At the end of the day... its about image quality and flexibility vs. convenience. The G9 is one of the best P&S cameras out there and allows full manual control if you are so inclined. At 12MP it will have a higher on subject pixel density which will allow for cropping. On the other hand a 6mp cropped image (down from the full 12) will not look as good as a full size optically zoomed image (6mp full on the D40) The D40 also gives you 2.5 fps vs the ~1.5 of the G9. The D40 will have better low light (high iso) performance in comparison to the G9 due to its larger photosites. I personally have 4 cameras: Canon SD800IS for when it MUST to fit in my pocket. Canon G9 when weight and size is a factor but I want better image quality and faster response than the SD800 (or external flash). The D40 when I want good low light and the ability to mount a fast lens. I use the 18-200 VR as leave on lens, the 18-55 when I want to travel light and the 24-70 f/2.8 for high image quality (the lens is 3x price of the camera). I usually only take the one lens I intend to use with the D40. I have ordered the Nikon D3 for when there is no alternative than having the best, but at 4+lbs its a massive beast and certainly beyond the scope if this discussion. The G9 is with me at almost all times just in case I come across some shot I just have to take. If it is a really compelling image and I have the opportunity to go back and shoot it again I do so with the D40 and much better glass.
You did the right thing with the D40. See the Lew Rockwell site. I have had mine for several months, and the more I learn about it, the better I like it. I recommend you buy the 55-200 VR lens to go with it. Unbelievable.
Update--after actually getting the d40 & VR lens, I just returned it and am going with the Canon g9. I never even took photos because the camera is simply "too much camera". The two lens are quite bulky to carry around when traveling, and the VR lens on the camera is heavy. This is fine if one is prepared for that sort of commitment to photography, but it definitely cuts on the spontaneity--because the two lens view quite different ranges. I saw the camera early on in my research when I was leaning towards the G9 but thereafter went by reviews & comments, and lost track of these basic facts. I think one of the deciding factors to return it was the fact that one was going to be interchanging the lens, not just using the 55-200. The two lens are significantly different. And regarding the whole package being heavy, when lifting it in the store rather briefly, it didn't seem like a big deal, but when I put the whole group of stuff in a tote bag I realized this was going to be a chore for traveling where there is lots of walking on the assumption that one will carry other items too--guidebook? handbag? souvenirs? etc. The camera can hang around your neck but one still has to carry the other lens (and also be mindful to keep dust out of the camera when changing lens and cover all the lens openings--). Anyway, even though I am probably sacrificing picture quality, I think on ski slopes and beaches I am more likely to use the G9 spontaneously. So it came down to frequency of use vs. quality.
Nikon d40, which just arrived today and looks a little daunting! I was persuaded that the pictures would be far superior and that the auto modes produce good pictures (unlike the Canon Rebel I had a few years ago), BUT it is much more of a "camera" than the stick in your pocket G9. I already have a very portable Canon elph, but it has minimal zoom--so rather useless at my son's soccer games. Not sure I made the right choice, but seems like I now have cameras at both ends of the spectrum whereas the G9 might be in the middle.
I agree. VR adds vibration reduction, which will make it easier to take photos in lower light without blur.
Auto mode is good, but I find that I prefer P mode, which allows a little more customizability. The best thing you can do, I think is learn the shortcuts, so you can make simple modifications without navigating all the menus.
Am on a trip now, and LOVE the G9. Haven't printed the pictures yet, so should update in a few weeks, but the convenience and flexibility for manual options in my case, a permanent amateur, are perfect. In fact, I wish they sold a more automatic version without so many possibilities for manual--it is just confusing. I am carrying the instruction book with me at all times.